by Stephen Mifsud
   25 Jul 2024      ()
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Rhus coriaria   (Sumach Tree)

Rhus coriaria  (ANACARDIACEAE.) 
Images for this profile are taken from the Maltese Islands after year 2000.

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Profile Date Sep-2008 (taxon update: none)
Citation for this page Mifsud, S. (2022). Rhus coriaria - datasheet created on Sep-2008. Retrieved from on 25-Jul-2024

Nomenclature and Basic Information

Species name :

Rhus coriariaL.
Published in Sp. Pl. 265 (1753)

Synonyms :
(basionym or principal syn.)

Toxicodendron coriaria (L.) Kuntze
Full list of synonyms : [Euro+Med] [PlantList] [IPNI] [POWO] [Catalogue of Life] []

Plant Family :

Anacardiaceae Lindl. (The Pistachio Family)
9 species from the Anacardiaceae family are recorded from the Maltese Islands.

English name(s) :

Sumach Tree, Common Sumach, Sumac tree

Maltese name(s) :

Xumakk tal-konz

Status for Malta :

Naturalised Alien. Species that was introduced in Malta after year 1492 (Columbus' discovery of the New World) and spreads and integrates to form established, non-invasive populations. Species may become become invasive if it widespreads rapidly.

Frequency :

Very Common     Common    Frequent     Scarce     Rare    Very rare    Extinct

Growth form :

Raunkiaer lifeform [info]: Macro-Phanerophyte ( high trees usually over 10 m high )
Germination [info]: Dicotyledon

Legal Protection :

Protected by law: Schedule I of [S.L. 549.123] AND schedule III of [S.L. 549.44] (Strictly protected tree species)

Red List (1989) :

Threatened status for the Maltese Islands and has been listed in the Red Data Book (1st ed.)

Flowering Time :

April – June

Colour of Flowers:

Green or Inconspicuous


Not particularly toxic

Name Derivation :


Planting in rural areas :

Encouraged to be planted in the wild that is in rural areas including ODZ.

Remarks :

The native range of this species has now been identified to be Tajikistan and Uzbekistan (IUCN, 2007) and hence the single established population in mainland Malta made up of male trees only , gives reason to conclude that the species is an introduction. It is not known when it was introduced but does not seem to be archeophyte due to the rather small and single population that occurs on the Maltese Islands. Very old introductions usually lead a distribution of few to several locations as a result of spread by man.

Description, Habitat and Distribution
Habitat in Europe: Rocky places and scrub at low altitudes
Preferred habitat in Malta: Open maquis and neglected fields
Botanical Description: Almost evergreen shrub or small tree up to 3 m. Young twigs and petioles densely hispid. Leaves imparipinnate; leaflets 1-5 cm, 7-21, ovate to oblong, coarsely crenate-serrate, sometimes with 1-2 small lobes at base; rhachis hispid, winged, at least between the distal leaflets. Inflorescence c. 10 cm, the branches more or less concealed by the flowers. Sepals ovate, greenish; petals oblong, white, longer than the sepals. Drupe shortly hispid, brownish-purple.
Distributional range: S. Europe

Distributional map in Europe
and the Mediterranean region (2018):
Occurrences in Europe.
(from Flora Europaea pre year 1993):
Albania, the Azores, Bulgaria, Crete, France (incl. Monaco and Channel Islands but excluding Corse), Greece, Spain (incl. Andorra but excl. the Balaerics), Italy (excl. Sicily and Sardignia), ex-Jugoslavia, Portugal, Russia and former USSR, Sicily and/or Malta, Turkey (European part)
Occurrences in Europe and the Mediterranean region.
(from Euro+Med Checklist, 2019)
  Country codes  
AE(G) Ag Al Ar Bu Ca(C G H P T) Cg Cr Ct Cy Ga(F M) Gg Gr Hs(S) Ir It LS Lu Md(M) Mk Rf(CS) Si(M S) Sn Tu(A E) Uk(K) [aAz(C G J L M P T) nBr aGe nIt Mk Sa nSi(S)]

Links & Further literature (0 papers)

Google Web

Google Images

Google Scholar

Research Gate




Med Checklist

Cat. of Life



World Flora Online

Plants of the World Online

Vienna Virt. Herb.

RBGE Herbarium

KEW Herbarium




Kindly Email if there are papers and publications about local studies or information about this species to be included in the list above.

Species Images (11 images)
   Rhus coriaria   -   Image Code: RHSCO-0.
   Rhus coriaria   -   Image Code: RHSCO-1.
   Rhus coriaria   -   Image Code: RHSCO-2.
   Rhus coriaria   -   Image Code: RHSCO-3.
   Rhus coriaria   -   Image Code: RHSCO-4.
   Rhus coriaria   -   Image Code: RHSCO-5.
   Rhus coriaria   -   Image Code: RHSCO-6.
   Rhus coriaria   -   Image Code: RHSCO-7.
   Rhus coriaria   -   Image Code: RHSCO-8.
   Rhus coriaria   -   Image Code: RHSCO-9.
   Rhus coriaria   -   Image Code: RHSCO-10.

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Section B:   Where have you seen this plant on the Maltese Islands?
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